It would seem league sources are back on their bullshit, but at least this time they’re putting their name to it. After league executives anonymously cried tampering to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN about LeBron James publicly discussing how amazing it would be to play with Anthony Davis earlier this season, the New Orleans Pelicans put their name on similar complaints after Davis requested a trade on Monday morning.
The Pelicans gave a statement to Wojnarowski on Davis’ trade request later Monday afternoon, and to truly get the full experience of reading these words, we would recommend that you listen to either of these two musical options as you read:
“This past weekend, Anthony Davis’ representatives informed us that Anthony does not wish to sign a contract extension with our team and subsequently has requested a trade. Although we are disappointed in this decision, our organization’s top priority is to bring an NBA championship to our city and fans build our team for long-term success. Relative to specific talks of a trade, we will do this on our timeline. One that make sense for our team and it will not be dictated by those outside of our organization. We have also requested the League to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction.”
This is not unexpected. Of course the Pelicans are going to be salty about their star player wanting out, and are going to try and make it seem as if Davis wanting to leave them is a more egregious act than the rosters Pelicans GM Dell Demps has intentionally put together over the last several seasons. It’s a lot easier to blame some figurative winking from James and Magic Johnson than to look in the mirror and recognize that you once voluntarily signed Omer Asik to a massive extension.
All that noted, while the Pelicans saying that they are going to make this deal on their timeline could be an attempt to leverage the Lakers for a better trade offer, it also likely signals that they are willing to wait until June or July, when the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks will be closer to being able to put their best assets on the table.
So it seems that instead of trade deadline fireworks, we may be looking at another few months of speculation, but we’ll see where things go before the Feb. 7 trade deadline. All that seems certain at this point is that unless the Lakers did something off the books to tamper with Davis — and the Pelicans can find proof — that they won’t be fined or penalized for tampering, because as LeBron James told us in a press scrum and has been proven out time and time again when stars publicly recruit each other, James hasn’t done anything wrong.
In retrospect, he may not have been directly warning us that the Pelicans would do this, but he kind of was.
“People get caught up in bunches sometimes when they wish they could control what you say, and they can’t control me. At all,” James said in December. “And I played by the rules.”
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